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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

KC Police: 1 Dead In Super Bowl Rally Shooting, 29 Others Injured; Special Counsel Urges Supreme Court To Deny Trump's Request For Delay In Immunity Case; Special Counsel Tells Supreme Court Trump's Attempt To Delay Election Trial Should Be Denied; Trump Expected To Attend NY Hush Money Hearing Tomorrow As DA In His GA Election Subversion Case Faces Hearing Over Alleged Misconduct; U.S. Intelligence Details Russian Efforts To Deploy A Nuclear Anti- Satellite System In Space; U.S. Navy Officials Tell CNN, They Don't Know How Much Capability The Houthi Rebels Have Left As They Continue To Be Resupplied By Iran. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 14, 2024 - 20:00   ET



VICTORIA HILL, DISCOVERED FERTILITY DOCTOR WAS HER BIOLOGICAL FATHER: There's no recourse. It's the reason why I'm telling this story. I mean, for me, coping, I need to make meaning of this somehow. I am happy to be alive, but I don't want to be the product of a fraud.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: And Victoria's trying to change things for other people. She is here in Washington and tomorrow joined by activists. They will be on Capitol Hill talking to lawmakers trying to make fertility fraud illegal in a federal bill.

Erin, this law has been written, it's proposed legislation, it is sitting in the House and they hope to have some success tomorrow. We will follow them on their journey here.

We did reach out to Caldwell's (ph) attorney, Erin. He did not have any comment. Erin?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Kyung, thank you very much. I very much want to see what happens to them tomorrow.

Thank you so much for being with us. AC360 starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on 360, the Super Bowl celebration in Kansas City turns tragic. One person dead, 21 others wounded, three people being questioned, few answers. We'll speak with a man who helped police detain someone possibly involved in the shooting.

Also tonight, more breaking news, Special Counsel Jack Smith quickly responding to the Supreme Court answering the former president's claim he's immune from prosecution.

And new classified intelligence and new concerns about Russia's nuclear capabilities in space. Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

We begin tonight with what is already, in just 45 days, the country's 48th mass shooting of 2024.

Multiple gunshots, too fast to count, just as a parade and rally for the Chiefs is wrapping up outside Kansas City's Union Station: 22 people were hit, at least one killed. Kansas City's police chief says three people are detained. Now, one person was apprehended by good Samaritans. I'm going to show you this video. We've circled it.

A man in a tan jacket running quickly from right to left across your screen, tackled and held by several others until police arrived a few seconds later. We don't know if this is one of the three people police say they are currently holding.

We want to go back a few seconds with this video. As he's running, you see a man in a yellow shirt on the other side of the barrier pointing, identifying the person fleeing, pointing him out to others in the crowd. That person's name is Tony, and you'll hear from him shortly. I just spoke with him.

But first, more on what we're learning from CNN Security Correspondent, former FBI Special Agent, Josh Campbell.

So what are authorities saying about what happened, because the press conference, which went on for some time in the last hour or two, it didn't have a lot of specifics.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No, it didn't and that was the second update and still no indication whether these three people that are now being detained in custody were actually involved in this shooting. That's the big question we all have had, and particularly members of the community, Anderson, wondering, is there a continuing threat.

In so many of these mass shootings that we've covered, you will often hear police come out and say, we believe we got the person responsible. There is no ongoing threat. We've not heard that yet from authorities. They're only saying that they have three people detained. They're trying to determine what that involvement might be.

Finally, it's worth pointing out that at this point, there's no indication that this specific event was targeted. We've also seen in other incidents, including mass shootings, where you have individuals that are settling some type of personal dispute with guns, essentially shooting at each other. Is that what is at play here? We still don't yet know. Authorities say they're trying to piece together who was involved and what, and trying to get to that motive, obviously.

COOPER: It also seems like - I mean, I listened to the whole press conference. Police are asking anybody with any information, anybody who was in the crowd who may have seen something to come forward, they clearly need all the information they can get right now.

CAMPBELL: No, absolutely. They're asking anyone who was in the vicinity of the shooting, if you saw something - someone certainly using a weapon, they want to know that. But interestingly, they're asking members of the public to also send in any type of video, any type of photography that they might have. We've seen that in numerous mass shootings where the police will appeal to the public.

One case in particular, the Boston Marathon bombing, where it was tips from the public that helped identify the location, who those suspects were. And so that's what they're asking right now. They're asking the public, don't decide on your own whether the imagery that I might have is important here, send it to us, let us look at it. They're trying to piece together all that information.

And then the last point, obviously, this - the fixated CCTV cameras that are in and around that area going through that information, not only to fixate on the actual location of the shooting, but also the movement of the people in and around that area. And then obviously the big question, even if they have three people, was there a fourth? Were there more? They're hoping a lot of these tips will help answer that.

COOPER: Twenty-two people shot. What do we know about their conditions?

CAMPBELL: Yes, the news is grim. We know one person has sadly died. Three others are listed in critical condition, that according to the last update from authorities, five others in serious condition.

Now, again, 22 shot, but authorities have not given a number yet about other potential injuries where you can imagine in a crowd this size when you have gunshots ringing out, people fleeing. There are likely other injuries that may have been sustained in that process.


And we often see people doing what's called self-transporting, taking themselves to the hospital. And so we're still waiting on that full number, but certainly a significant event here with at least one person deceased, multiple other people with serious - facing serious injuries, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Josh Campbell, appreciate it.

I want to replay some of the video that we just showed you, that chase shortly after the shooting man there in the yellow shirt that we talked about Tony pointing as the fleeing man goes by just seconds before other civilians then tackle him and then police arrive. His name is Tony. We're not going to give you his last name, though we know it. I spoke to him just before airtime.


COOPER: So, Tony, what did you see? When did you first realize something was wrong?

TONY, WITNESS: Yes. So I was about 10, 15 feet from where it actually kind of happened. Initially, it kind of startled everyone. We kind of just kind of dropped our feet because it was a loud noise and then a few people started to say that it was fireworks. But like I said before, it was just the way the simultaneous sound of the bangs, I knew it wasn't fireworks.

COOPER: How many shots were you hearing?

TONY: Hard to say at the time, it's kind of in the middle of the moment. But as I was - as I looked to my right where it happened, that's where I ended up seeing one victim on the floor with a few bullet holes in them. And then that's when I kind of understood the reality of the situation.

And then from there, people were kind of starting to pull out their phones and didn't know what to think of. And I started to kind of just tell them, hey, get out of here. This is not - this isn't fireworks or anything.

So as I'm like kind of trying to just leave the situation, I hear the crowd start to point and yell at this one guy that was running away. And so I kind of just started - I was already in that direction where he was running to. So I started to run, see if I could kind of see - get an eye on who it was. And I actually ended up running into him and two of the other victims or suspects.

And one of the guys - excuse me - one of the guys that I - like I said, I ran into them. One of the victims or the shooters had his jaw shot completely off. And so he was kind of like frantic and - him and his buddies were all kind of frantic, kind of didn't know what to do.

COOPER: So wait - wait a minute, sorry. So you saw one person running and people in the crowd were saying that - pointing at that person.

TONY: Yes, that might be him, yes, and point to that person.

COOPER: And then there - but - and there were two other people with him.

TONY: Yes. So there was two other people with him. So when I - when I was running just to kind of get away from the situation, but I also heard them pointing. This is the shooter or some - could be the shooter. I literally ran into them. So they turned around when I ran into him and I saw the victim or the guy with the face shot off. And then he was kind of - didn't know what to do and so he handed his backpack off to his buddies and ...

COOPER: So when you - sorry, the person you said with his face shot off, like his jaw was actually missing.

TONY: Yes.

COOPER: But he was able to - he was upright. He was able to run.

TONY: Yes, he was still moving. So I just wasn't sure. He was still moving. Like, I think he was just in shock. So I don't know if he was a victim or if he was part of the actual shooting and just got hit as well and then ...

COOPER: What do you think now? I mean, do you think he was part of the shooting?

TONY: He could be. I think so, because - I mean, so to continue the story, so after he handed the bag to the other individuals, I kept an eye on those individuals and they were in between semi trucks, stuffing stuff in their backpack and look like they were hiding something in their big jacket. So I kept an eye on them and I just - it didn't sit right with me, so I went up to one of the sheriffs as it was going on. I said, hey, follow me. I think these guys might be suspicious.

And so as we were walking up to those guys, they started to backpedal and then they were hiding that in their jacket and then they just took off from us (inaudible) ...

COOPER: And at this point, it's still those three guys. One guy who you said his jaw shot off ...

TONY: Yes.

COOPER: ... and the two of them.

TONY: Well, the guy was - the guy with his jaw shot off after he was laying on the ground and passed up - passed the bag, I didn't focus on him. I was just focused on what was going on with the bag and so I don't know what happened.

COOPER: So at that point, it was two people with the bag?

TONY: Yes. Yes.


TONY: And so we confronted, we walked up to those guys and then they took off running again after we were walking - the sheriff were walking up to him. And both me and the sheriff start running after him. And the only reason I kind of ran after him was just because I knew what he looked like. I literally ran into him. So I just didn't want him to hurt anybody else. I didn't want him to - I didn't know if he had another weapon on him. It just looked like he was hiding something and they were stuffing something in their backpack and he just ran.

So I kept an eye on him. I was running after him all the way down and then that's what you can kind of see the video and then that's where I'm starting to yell, this is the guy, this is the guy. Tackle him. Help tackle him. And luckily, four or five other brave guys that heard me.

COOPER: I want to - Tony, I want to show our viewers that video. We've highlighted the person running in - it looks like a tan jacket, maybe?

TONY: Yes. Yes.

COOPER: So that person - that's the person who you saw ...

TONY: That's the person that I saw in between the semis. COOPER: ... that's one of the people you saw stuffing things?

TONY: Yes.


COOPER: And that's the person - it's interesting because in the last hour, our Erin Burnett talked to a gentleman named Paul Contreras and his daughter Alyssa, who Paul helped tackle someone who he heard people saying that's the person. And he was involved into tackling of that person.

I just want to play what Paul said in our last hour.


PAUL CONTRERAS: I heard somebody yelling to stop this guy, tackle him and he was coming in the opposite direction. So I just - you don't think about it, it's just a reaction. He got close to me. I got the right angle on him and I hit him from behind. And when I hit him from behind, I either jarred the gun out of his hand or out of his sleeve.


COOPER: And Tony, I want to show another video to our viewers, which we've highlighted you pointing. Let's just show that now. So you see the person running and from a distance, you can just see the back of you pointing. You're in like, I think a red hat. Is that - that's what Paul was talking about. Paul heard - it sounds like Paul heard you or somebody else around you pointing and yelling about that guy.

TONY: Yes. Yes. So I - once he took off running, like instinctually, I just took off running after him. He was hopping barriers. I was hopping barriers, just trying to stay in somewhat distance of him. And that way I could - if I could see a cop and help him identify that was the guy. And then just - there wasn't any - police officer at the moment at that time, so I'm just trying to yell to anybody that can hear me and people are scrambling and not knowing what's going on. And I just felt like that was the best situation that - that was the best thing I could do in that situation was just let people know, this is the guy helped me out or I'm going to - I was just going to try to tackle him if I could, but I'm thankful that these guys stepped up.

And like I said, it was just instinctual. It's not something that I plan to do. I mean, we're all just going there for the parade. But it was just one of those things that I just wasn't wanting anybody else to get hurt.

COOPER: Tony, at any point, did - I know you said you saw these two guys stuffing things and the guy with the jaw shot off handing something to others and then them stuffing things in a backpack or in a jacket. Did you see any weapons?

TONY: Yes. So I had - on my page and everything, I - there was, I think that's the weapon that he was talking about when he tackled him and it came loose. You can see one of the weapons that were there after we tackled him, because when I got back to (inaudible) ...

COOPER: Was it a pistol or was it a handgun?

TONY: It looked like - kind of like a machine gun pistol.


TONY: I couldn't really get that good of a look on it. It kind of looked like an AR as well. I just really didn't get a look on it, but ...

COOPER: Right. But the person you first saw lying down on the ground with what you believe are bullet wounds, that - you don't know who that person was?

TONY: No. The guy that - when I first saw him laying on the ground with the holes in him?


TONY: No, but I just want to say he was part of it because somebody else had come in on a different radio station and was telling me that they had seen him with a weapon. And I'll - I'm not throwing anything out there, but I just saw the guy with the holes. I didn't see if I saw his weapon. I just saw there was a guy laying on the ground, saw the severity of the situation. I was just wanting to get out of there and then that's when they pointed out the other people and then that's when I ran.

COOPER: Tony, I got to say it's, it's really remarkable what you did and what a number of other people did, Paul Contreras as well who Erin talked to, nobody knows how you're going to respond in a situation like this. We all think we're going to be the person who chases after a bad guy and rallies other people to help.

But, but rarely do people actually do that, you did that and it was instinctual. You said you didn't plan certainly this to happen. Did it surprise you what you did?

TONY: So I come from a military background, we come from active shooter trainings, all this type of stuff that - you prep for these situations. I've been out of the military since 2016, but it's just stuff that you kind of go through that you kind of just - it turns on in those situations. And I just tell people in this society, and now we're in 2024 and just tell our society that in these big venues or these big gatherings, you just have to stay vigilant.

If you have kids, keep an eye on your kids, watch around what's going on and anything, concerts, parades, we don't expect these things, but just staying vigilant like that can literally save your life. I'm just lucky to be here. If I was 10 steps faster, I probably wouldn't be on the phone with you right now.


I was that close and I just didn't want anybody else to get hurt. We've seen things go on throughout the entire country. I don't want something - who wants like this to happen on a day of celebration and bringing a city together? So I was just trying to do whatever I could to help mitigate it and help the police officers that are around me.

COOPER: Well, I mean, Tony, our society only works when good people stand up and help each other and you did that. I really appreciate talking to you. Thank you for what you did.

TONY: I appreciate that. Thank you.

COOPER: You take care.

TONY: Thank you. You too.

COOPER: Good citizens.

Still to come tonight, we'll delve further into the investigation of today's mass shooting. The questions about three people detained with former FBI director - Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Also more breaking news, Special Counsel Jack Smith has asked the Supreme Court tonight to allow the election interference trial to proceed. It comes quickly after the former president asked for a stay as he seeks to delay his trial past election day. We'll dig into the new filing coming up.


COOPER: We've just gotten some new information in the wake of today's mass shooting in Kansas City. Local hospitals now telling us they've treated at least 29 people in connection with it. Again, police say 22 people were hit by gun - by bullets. One has died. Three people have been detained.

Before the break, we spoke with a man name - first name is Tony, who helped police detain a possible suspect fleeing the scene.


He's the one in the yellow shirt pointing. Here again is some of what he said about the chase.


TONY: I hear the crowd start to point and yell at this one guy that was running away. And so I kind of just started - I was already in that direction where he was running to. So I started to run, see if I could kind of see - get an eye on who it was. And I actually ended up running into him and two of the other victims or suspects.

And one of the guys - excuse me - one of the guys that I - like I said, I ran into them. One of the victims or the shooters had his jaw shot completely off.


COOPER: Joining us now CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst and former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe.

Andrew, it's interesting hearing from Tony who not only saw somebody, he says, laying down - laying on the ground with bullet wounds in them early on, but also these three other people, one of whom had his jaw shot off, running away and stuffing things into a bag. One of whom at least was apprehended. What stands out to you about all - what he said?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Wow. I mean, there's a lot that stands out from that interview. It's kind of the first glance that we've had into this possibility that there were more people involved than the two people who are initially reported as having been armed and detained. It also raises the interesting prospect that somebody who's being treated as a victim may have actually also been involved in the shooting - so as a suspect in the investigation.

So clearly the Kansas City Police Department has got a tangled mess on their hands to try to get to the bottom of. And I would suspect that they're not really going to be able to do that until they get the sort of assistance from the public that they have now requested, which is to provide - to upload copies of videos and photographs that were taken at the scene in that area when this shooting started.

So that will help them a lot, I think, not just place the players on the set as it were, but also to try to try track it back to who was actually firing these shots.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, what are some of the key questions that you have right now? Because I mean, it's unusual and obviously look, we've all covered a lot of active shooter situations and we've all read the FBI report on how they're usually operated. It's very rare to have two shooters involved in a mass shooting to have the potential of multiple people.

I mean, it sounds like perhaps, I mean, there's many different scenarios where there's still questions remain of, was this event targeted, was this just lots of people gathering and some sort of altercation over something between groups of people and was that what was involved here?

MCCABE: Yes, those are all the questions that I'm sure law enforcement is asking right now. And you're absolutely right. What we know - what little we know so far, it doesn't really fit the typical pattern of a mass shooting here in the United States, right? Typically we have lone offenders, almost always male, although we saw a female mass shooter last weekend and those folks are either killed on the scene or taken into custody by themselves.

Now, I should say that the idea of multiple shooters involved in an event like this is not unheard of. And in fact, it's more common in terrorist attacks and certainly ones that we see overseas in Europe and the Middle East and other places.

Now I'm not suggesting that this was a terrorist attack. We haven't been given any evidence or facts that would support that. But I think the most likely explanation here, Anderson, is that we have some sort of a conflict between two groups of people that erupted into a gun violence. And it's entirely more likely to happen in a place where many people are carrying firearms. So not so much a premeditated attack, as it were as a - like a spontaneous event between kind of a - two warring clans.

COOPER: Right. I mean, it could be gang related, it could be drug related, a mix of both or who knows what. The FBI is assisting local law enforcement. Can you just kind of walk us through what evidence - I mean, the fact that police in their press conference, which was very lengthy a short time ago are appealing so directly for any information, I mean, does that tell you that they don't have a handle on what exactly went on?

MCCABE: It certainly suggests that they're in need of better evidence about what happened here, right? So that's likely the folks that they have in custody are probably not cooperating. Nobody's talking, nobody's pointing the finger at each other. Those are all obviously very helpful things if they're taking place in an investigation like this.


So they need hard evidence of what happened. The crime scene itself is so large, so chaotic. You have so many people running away from the events, that it's possible that the sort of evidence you would use at the crime scene, like collecting shell casings and things of that nature have been - that's made harder by the fact that you've got literally thousands of people probably trampling through the area where the events took place.

So they're really placing a lot of emphasis on the possibility of getting some video capture or photographs that can help them out and I think that makes a lot of sense.

COOPER: Andrew McCabe, thanks so much.

Just ahead, we have more breaking news, special counsel, Jack Smith, asking the Supreme Court to let his election interference trial proceed in a new filing comes days after the former president's team asked for a delay that could push the trial past election day, details next.


COOPER: We're watching former president, Trump, at a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, 10 days ahead of that state's primary. No reaction thus far to our breaking news about a new filing by special counsel, Jack Smith, which is six days ahead of deadline. He's asked the Supreme Court to allow the election interference trial to proceed and deny the former president's request for a stay.

Now, the former president essentially wants the trial delayed past Election Day while the courts weigh his claims of absolute immunity. A panel of three federal judges already overwhelmingly rejected those claims in a unanimous opinion. We're joined now by former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, also my

colleague, Kaitlan Collins, anchor of THE SOURCE at the top of the hour, and our Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent, Paula Reid.


So, Paula, what else can you tell us about the Special Counsel's filing?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: As you just laid it out, this is all about timing. Smith wasted no time in filing this response and he insists that the entire country tree has an interest in the prompt resolution of this entire case. And of course, Smith doesn't that Trump has immunity. They've been litigating that for months. The trial court agreed with Smith, and appeals court agreed with Smith, and that's scathing unanimous opinion. Most legal experts also agree that Trump doesn't have immunity.

And if you talk to former members of his legal team, even current members of his legal team, they can see that, yeah, this is not our strongest arguments. So Smith said, look, he's not going to win on the merits. He doesn't deserve this pause, so he can go exercise all of these frivolous appeals in the filing. He said today, "The charged crimes strike at the heart of our democracy, a president's alleged criminal scheme to overturn an election and thwart the peaceful transfer of power to his successor should be the last place to recognize a novel form of absolute immunity from federal criminal law."

So he's saying, look, don't give them this pause. Let's get to move on with this trial. But if the Supreme Court wants to hear this case on the merits, he asked them to do so quickly. He says, I'm suggesting that you do oral arguments in March and move this along because again, for him, this is all about timing and trying to bring this case to trial.

COOPER: So, what's the next step now that he's all this (ph)?

REID: So, we are waiting for the Supreme Court to weigh in here. Trump will get a chance to reply, but all eyes are on the Supreme Court and this happens amid a backdrop, right, the court is already contemplating this other Trump case, ballot eligibility. Trump is widely expected to win that case. And look, there is a world in which they hand him a win on ballot eligibility and just reject the presidential immunity outright. And that would give a win, would be true to the law.

Again, speaking to sources in and around the Trump world, that is widely the expectation. But the bigger question is, how long does it take? Because again, this all comes down to timing.

COOPER: Yeah. Just let's talk about the timing first, Elie. What are the options? So, I mean he's filed this ahead of time. He didn't -- he did it before or the deadline. Now, does Trump file something again or does the (ph) Supreme Court answer his filing? ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So typically, there would be a reply brief from Donald Trump's team. There's no set deadline for that, but if I was them, I would want to get that in real quick. And then the Supreme Court --

COOPER: Why would you want to get that in quick if you want to delay things?

HONIG: Because I would want to get it in before they rule, because they're not necessarily -- the Supreme Court's not necessarily going to wait if I take a week or two, so I would want to get the last word in. As to the Supreme Court's options, they need to decide, first of all, are we going to keep the stay, the pause on the district court? That actually takes five justices and related to that, sort of inseparable from that, is will they take the case itself, which only takes four justices?

Every time I see one of these briefs, I change my mind. This to such a close call. I mean, I totally can see them rejecting this for the reasons Paula said. They don't want to be part of a politically charged case. The rulings below have been unequivocal. On the other hand, and Trump's team makes this argument, this is sort of the platonic ideal of a case that the Supreme Court would take. This is why we have a Supreme Court. It's unresolved. It goes to the scope of executive powers. It goes to separation of powers. So, neither result would surprise me here.

COOPER: Kaitlan, I mean, are the former president's allies confident they'll be able to kind of slow walk this?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Well, I mean, they've been successful so far. The one thing that threw them off though was when they got that response from the appeals court, that scathing ruling that Paula was talking about. And it kind of boxed them in by saying you only have this many days to respond to the Supreme Court. Obviously, we saw that happen earlier this week, and so we knew that was coming.

They knew that Jack Smith was going to respond way before the deadline. They were joking that he'd respond immediately once he heard from the Supreme Court on this. I think he'd followed the six days before he actually had to respond with his -- what he was going to say. They are still hoping that they can delay it. They're thinking is that this is such a monumental case and such a monumental issue that has never really been tested before, that the Supreme Court will want to have its opinion.

They believe that ultimately they will lose on this. They don't think that they're going to win when you speak to them candidly (ph). They won't say that publicly. But they only want it to be delayed. That's the only thing that is of their interests. That's why what Jack Smith said tonight is so critical that if you are going to hear Donald Trump's argument here, please do it by next month.

COOPER: Elie, do you think the court responds to that? I mean, they're obviously aware of the situation. HONIG: It's such an interesting question. It is really a larger question.

COOPER: You were critical of Jack Smith's filing.

HONIG: Yeah. And I will remain critical of this about Jack Smith. He is all-consumingly possessed with trying this case before the election. There are legitimate reasons for that, but he won't say it. Instead and he does it again in the filing that just came in, it's all these bromides and generalities about, well, there's a general need. Everyone knows what he's doing. Everyone knows what the judges are doing.

COOPER: Let me read you what he said.

HONIG: Yeah.

COOPER: He said delay in the resolution of these charges threatens to frustrate the public interests and a speedy and fair verdict.


COOPER: A compelling interest in every criminal case and one that has unique national importance here, as it involves federal criminal charges against a former president for alleged criminal efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election, including through the use of official power.

HONIG: There it is again, right? He's done this over and over, when all he needs to say is it's really important that we try this before the election. And I don't know how this is going to play with the justices.


COLLINS: OK. But I've had this conversation with people in Trump's world about this. There -- they've seen Elie's writing. He avoids the 'e' word as was referenced in the filing earlier this week, but also if Jack Smith did talk about the election, then they would wield it the other way and they'd say, well, he's just trying to do this before the election. So, I think when you hear it from some people, it's certainly coming in bad faith.

HONIG: Yeah. So, we definitely do that.

REID: Yeah.

COOPER: Let's just talk about the next two days --

REID: Oh, boy!

COOPER: -- because there's a whole bunch of the court stuff going on with Trump.

REID: Oh, my! OK. So tomorrow, simultaneously, we will have a hearing here in Manhattan. This is -- COOPER: Inking my calendar.

REID: Yeah. You're going to need a calendar and use pencil and not pen.

COOPER: All right.

REID: And this is about the Manhattan District Attorney's criminal case, the hush money payments made before the 2016 election. Lot of folks forget about this case, but right now, that looks like it could be the first criminal case brought against former President Trump. It's currently on the calendar for March 25, and the big the thing were looking at tomorrow, again, there's a motion to dismiss Smith. It is not expected that will be successful, but will that case go in late March because it, right now, would be the first criminal case. Trump will be attending that case.

But at the same time, down in Georgia, there is a hearing that is expected to go for two days about this effort to disqualify Fani Willis for her alleged involvement with her lead prosecutor, Nathan Wade, and again, the stakes are a little less higher because the case isn't going to go away, right? Even if she's disqualified, the criminal case will still exist. But Nathan Wade is going to be the first witness called to the stand to talk about his relationship with Fani Willis. So, I mean, that is also on camera. That is really going to be something what I'm watching for, is does Trump do anything to distract from that, or does he let that just take the spotlight?

COOPER: And then, (inaudible) there's the money case.

REID: Yes. And then were expecting we are expecting --

COOPER: (Inaudible) call it.

REID: No, it's easy way to, yeah, label them. That is the case about the Trump organization, very personal to former President Trump and the judges' penalties are expected to come in on Friday.

COOPER: And Kaitlan, former president wants to be in the New York court tomorrow, not in Georgia.

COLLINS: I mean, it was kind of up for debate because we were talking to our sources about where he was going to be. Obviously, he's chosen to be in the courtroom several times, especially here in New York. And we are talking to one person who thought he was going to be in Georgia and they said, oh, not New York? Because they themselves were still debating, which one he was actually going to show up at tomorrow. They're happy -- they're starting in the same hour is the other emphasis here.

And I think we talk about all of Trump's legal issues all the time. I understand that it's confusing to people who aren't watching it every second like we are. This is a really high-stakes 48 hours that's coming up here on this. Trump wants to be in person tomorrow. He's asking for that case to be outright dismissed. No one thinks that's going to happen, but we will wait to see what the actual date is going to be. He could still show up in Georgia on Friday.

We don't know that he's going to do that, but certainly, he has a vested interest there as well, because they believe that Fani Willis should be disqualified and that she shouldn't be able to bring this case anymore. And so, I think those are the things that they're weighing when it comes to where and when he's going to go. Friday though is the biggest one to watch because that is going to be the one that goes at the heart of who Donald Trump is himself, and he's already lost it. The question is, how much is it going to cost him?

COOPER: And we are going to find out Friday, how much it's going to cost him.

COLLINS: We will find out Friday.

COOPER: Yeah. All right, Kaitlan has got more at nine o'clock at the Top the hour, about 23 minutes from now. Elie Honig, thank you, Paula Reid as well.

More breaking news. What began with cryptic remarks this morning from the House Intelligence Chair about a "serious national security threat." Well, tonight, we know it's about Russian nuclear capabilities in space. Former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta joins us next.



COOPER: It's a busy night. There's more breaking news, new American intelligence on Russian military capabilities connected to deploying a nuclear anti-satellite system in space. Intelligence was briefed to Congress and key allies, three U.S. officials familiar with it, say the system in question remains under development, not yet deployed in orbit. And according to one of those officials, it is not yet even clear how far the technology has progressed. So for more on what to make of it, we are joined by Leon Panetta, who served as Defense Secretary and CIA Director in the Obama Administration.

First of all, Mr. Secretary, does it make any sense to you that Mike Turner, the Republican House Intelligence Chair, would release a statement which drew world attention to this intelligence before the gang of eight (ph) briefing that according to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is scheduled for tomorrow?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, it's something that does obviously raise questions about what he was trying to accomplish by doing that. Obviously, it is a serious national security threat with the kind of information that's being reported. As to why he would get ahead of the briefings and I know that the national security chief is going to be going up to the Hill, both with Intelligence and Pentagon officials to brief members of Congress on this important intelligence. It just -- it strikes me that what the chairman was trying to do perhaps was to try to send a wake-up call to both the Speaker and his Republican colleagues, that Russia still remains very much a threat to the United States. COOPER: Let's talk about, I mean, there's a lot -- obviously, we don't know much about the details of this, but anti-satellite technology. Obviously, any military force would try to knock out an opponent's satellites. What concerns you about this? What do you make of the little that's publicly available out there?

PANETTA: Well, we've been I think tracking this ever since I was both Secretary and Director of the CIA. We were concerned about China and their ability to use laser beams to basically in some way destabilize satellites or bring them down. This involves the possibility of nuclear weapons in space. It's a military capability, and using those nuclear weapons in space to basically either paralyze these satellites or bringing them down.

And what is the problem? The problem is that we use satellites for communications purposes.


PANETTA: We use satellites for intelligence purposes. We use satellites for GPS purposes, and other information purposes as well. That relate to our national security if Russia could blind our ability to be able to gather that kind of information. Make no mistake about it, that would be an act of war because it would threaten our national security.

COOPER: And I mean, is that technology I assume the U.S. would be looking into that tech, any kind of technology like that themselves?

PANETTA: Well, without question. I mean, the United States would obviously be looking at similar ways to be able to disable both Chinese and Russian satellites, but more importantly, to defend against their use of these kinds of military capabilities. So, I'm sure that the Pentagon is developing the ability not only to track what the Russians are doing and determine whether or not they're going to try to deploy something like this, but also how do they defend against it if it should happen.

COOPER: It is -- I mean, if that is -- was Mike Turner's objective to kind of wake House Republicans up a little bit about Russia's intentions or the reality of Russia, I mean, that's an interesting idea given -- I mean, do you think it would have any impact even on support over the war for Ukraine in the war against Russia?

PANETTA: Well, look, I think one of the worst messages the United States is sending right now to the world and to Russia is, our delaying the supplemental request in terms of military aid to Ukraine, to Israel, to Taiwan, and what's essentially happening is that we are playing Putin's game right now by those who are refusing to take up the supplemental. So, does it jeopardize our national security? You are damn right, it does.

COOPER: Not to mention the former president saying that he would encourage Russia to invade a NATO country that doesn't pay its bills to his liking (ph). PANETTA: That just adds to the concern because now, you've got former president of the United States inviting Putin to attack another NATO country if they aren't somehow fulfilling their 2 percent pledge, it's crazy. It is something that obviously concerns our allies when a former president says something like that. I just hope that the Speaker and Republicans who, I mean, need to look at the Senate, there was a bipartisan vote, a strong bipartisan vote, 70 votes that voted for the supplemental.

I think the House, both the Speaker, the Republicans, the Democrats, have to come together to now move this supplemental. It is critical to the message we send to the world about U.S. world leadership.

COOPER: Leon Panetta, thank you for your time.

PANETTA: Glad to be with you.

COOPER: Coming up the U.S. naval fight against Iranian-backed militants in the Red Sea. Our Natasha Bertrand got a rare look aboard a carrier and destroyer patrolling one of the world's most vital shipping lanes. She joins us next.



COOPER: In addition to threats from Russia, the U.S. is also trying to maintain the safety of one of the most vital shipping lanes in the world, the Red Sea, which is now under constant threat by Iranian- backed Houthi rebels. Our Natasha Bertrand gained unique access to a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group. Its sailors and pilots were under constant threat from possible drone and missile attacks. Take a look.


NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what the crew of a U.S. warship here is when a Houthi missile is headed their way.

CNN embedded (ph) with the U.S. Navy in the southern Red Sea where sailors have been on the front lines of the fight against the Iran- backed rebels for over two months.

BERTRAND: We're on our way now to the USS Gravely, which is one of the destroyers that has been shooting down missiles and drones that they have been firing indiscriminately into the Red Sea.

BERTRAND (voice-over): Here off the coast of Yemen, U.S. warships tried to shoot down the Houthi missiles before they can cause any real damage. But the sailors have little time to respond.

LT. J.G. JAMES RODNEY, U.S. NAVY: We could have seconds or we could have minutes based on -- I won't say much more than minutes.

BERTRAND (voice-over): The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, which the president ordered to the Red Sea in November in response to the Houthi attacks, has been working at a frenetic pace to keep up with the threat.

CAPT. MARVIN SCOTT, CARRIER AIR WING COMMANDING OFFICER: They have tried to target coalition forces, U.S. forces through swarm attacks, using multiple UAVs, using multiple anti-ship ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles. They are trying everything that they can, but we are prepared for anything that they might throw our way.

BERTRAND (voice-over): Fighter jets are launched from the Ike roughly 50 times per day, staying airborne for hours at a time, so they can quickly strike targets inside Yemen and over the Red Sea.

BERTRAND: We were woken up early this morning around 4:30 a.m. to the sounds of alarms blaring on this aircraft carrier, a sign we are told of a potential imminent threat by a Houthi drone that was flying over the Red Sea. That alarm indicating and these fighter aircraft behind me, they had to be ready to respond potentially at a moment's notice.

BERTRAND (voice-over): That drone was quickly deemed no longer a threat, but it demonstrates how risky the mission is. The Houthis have also been trying to hit the jets flying over Yemen with surface to air missiles, officials told CNN.

BERTRAND: You're flying these missions against the Houthis. Can you talk a little bit about what is unique or the most challenging aspect of these missions they are doing on a near daily basis?

CAPT. JAMES HUDDLESTON, CARRIER AIR WING 3: Well, first off, this isn't exactly where we expected to be on this deployment. Whenever you're doing something for the first time in a region, that's not without risks, but we have managed that risk to our strike group and our air crew through the management of combat power.


BERTRAND (voice-over): With no end in sight to the Houthi attacks, U.S. officials tell CNN, they don't know how much capability the rebels have left as they continue to be resupplied by Iran.

REAR ADM. MARC MIGUEZ, COMMANDER, CARRIER STRIKE GROUP 2: (Inaudible) is electronic attack.

BERTRAND (voice-over): The commander of the carrier strike group told CNN, they will stay in the Red Sea for as long as necessary.

MIGUEZ: The sustainability, we can go for a long time. We've got our logistics train already mapped out, to stay here as long as the president needs us stay here


BERTRAND Now, Anderson, one of the big questions that we came away from this experience with is, how much of the Houthi's capabilities has the U.S. actually been able to destroy with their repeated strikes inside Yemen? These strikes are a near daily occurrence now and officials on board these ships didn't have a great answer for us. They don't have a good sense of just how much weaponry the Houthis still have stock piled and that is going to be a really key question when it comes to just how much longer the U.S. is going to have to actually sustain this campaign in the Red Sea, keep those sailors and those pilots in the Red Sea, keep them deployed where they've already been deployed with really no break for the last four months there, Anderson.

COOPER: Natasha, thanks so much. Appreciate it. We'll be right back.